As a young New York couple Will Dempsey (Oscar Issac) and Abbey Dempsey (Olivia Wilde) goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child Dylan (Olivia Cooke), the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes in Life Itself.
Director and writer Dan Fogelman of This Is Us fame, examines the perils and rewards of everyday life in a multigenerational saga featuring an international cast.
Set in New York City and Carmona, Spain, Life Itself celebrates the human condition and all of its complications with humuor, poignancy and love.
The above words do not belong to me. In fact, I sourced them almost entirely from a synopsis that was sent to me. This is the level of overwhelmed I felt after watching the film.
Firstly, I must say I’m completely grateful that the film is broken down into five chapters; The Hero, Dylan Dempsey, The Gonzalez Family, Rodrigo Gonzalez and Elena Dempsey – Gonzalez.
These certainly make the overload of narratives and characters much more palatable. One thing that will hit you right in the face from chapter one, is just how tragic the film is. From dealing with loss, to taking of their own lives, it really does seem like the characters of the film are magnets of perpetual grief.
The cool thing was having Samuel L. Jackson narrate the film in the first chapter. It’s ultimately revealed that he’s not quite a part of the story, but he’s instrumental because he lets us into the state of mind of Will’s character.
I also appreciated the authenticity of the film. The Gonzalez Family and Mr Saccione (Antonio Banderas) are very authentically Spanish without being burdened by unnecessary stereotypes and tropes that Hollywood films sometimes saddle their characters with.
It’s a very layered story, one that’s been intricately woven, and at times I did fear it would be too easy to get lost all in it until you get to the final chapter that sums up what you’ve just seen.
The film explores the themes of love, obsession, family, mental health and the grieving process and the overarching theme explores the unpredictable nature of life.
By the end of the film, I felt quite emotionally exhausted because it’s quite the tear-jerker. But I can assure you won’t have wasted your time by going out to see it.
The film explores the themes of love, obsession, family, mental health, the grieving process and the overarching theme explores the unpredictable nature of life.
* Life Itself opens in cinemas nationwide today, November 9.
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